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PH Firms Told to Expand to UK

Posted on October 23, 2014

ALTHOUGH the United Kingdom (UK) remains to be one of the largest investors in the Philippines, local companies are also starting to set up operations in the UK to serve both the British people and overseas Filipino workers.

That is according to British Embassy Manila Second Secretary Colin Glen, who was in Cebu on Monday in time for the Philippine-British Friendship Day.

According to the embassy, companies like the Bank of the Philippine Islands and PLDT have already invested in UK. BPI has established an office in London while PLDT Global and Smart have established partnership with British company Teleena for a mobile network operation to provide services to Filipinos in the UK.

2-way investments

Adding to the lineup is business conglomerate Alliance Global, which recently announced its intentions to purchase Scotch whisky company Whyte & Mackay in an investment worth £400 milllion.

“This is quite new to us in the embassy. This is an indication where the Philippines is headed in internationalizing businesses. People here always talk about investments into the Philippines. What the UK also wants is that Philippine companies also invest in UK. Hopefully, this will pave way for a two-way investment,” added British Embassy Manila communications manager Lynn Ayers Plata.

According to Glen, 100 percent foreign ownership in UK is allowed.

“You can be a 100 percent foreign company. Invest in there and expand in there,” the official told local companies.

UK, according to the embassy officials, positions itself as a “perfect hub” for inward investment. Among the reasons cited include UK being one of the most free and open markets in the world; a very short span of setting up a business, which could take an average of 13 days; and an attractive taxation with corporate tax of 20 percent by next year.

“UK is a good springboard to Europe for Philippine companies,” Plata said.

Its education sector is also delivering exceptional talent and workforce, with four of the top six universities in the world located in UK. The country’s “strong and fair legal system and lack of corruption” also makes it attractive to foreign investors, added the embassy in a statement.

With a big number of Filipinos living and working in the UK, which is now at 250,000, Plata said Philippine companies can already be assured of a market when they enter the country.


The embassy said major investment opportunities in the UK can be found in sectors like financial services, food and drink, retail, education, healthcare and infrastructure.

In the Philippines alone, giant UK companies like Shell, Unilever, HSBC, Standard Charter, Pru Life and Dunlop Slazenger have long been operating.

UK companies active in business process outsourcing in the country include T-Mobile, Logica, and Northgate Arinso. In training, Balfour Beatty and Cape Plc have established technical training centers in Manila, providing Filipinos with technical skills to support the operations of these companies around the world. In retail, a number of British companies are active in franchising like Topshop, Speedo, M&S, Hackett, Lee Cooper and the likes.

As of 2013, the embassy reported that UK was one of the largest European investors in the Philippines with a Foreign Direct Investment stock of around $1 billion.

Recent deals closed between UK companies and the Philippines include the accreditation of Pru Life UK as one of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Provident Fund’s equity managers, the first foreign fund manager to manage BSP’s Philippines equity portfolio.

In terms of trade relations, total two-way trade in goods and services in 2012 was £1.23 billion, up by seven percent year on year. UK exports of goods and services to the Philippines in 2012 were £550 million which is up by 13 percent year on year, while UK imports of goods and services from the Philippines were £678 million, up by three percent.